ATV Part 5 Building a collection

Consider Chris Ofili’s statement below

“The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never-ending. So an exhibition is not a conclusion.”

For me, a factory is a place that is a production line, churning out the same item on masse. The product has already been designed and tested and found fit for purpose so now comes manufacturing the item on a large scale. It’s impersonal, methodical, the process the same each time to produce the same product over and over again. There is no imagination for the worker on the production line, no new ideas, no creativity, it’s the same routine and rhythm every day. A laboratory on the other hand is full of potential. It’s a place for ideas and thinking, creating and designing, for pushing boundaries through experimentation, making new discoveries and finding out what is possible. I would agree with Ofili’s reasoning on that point.

I do think that an exhibition can be a conclusion to a particular area of work or, left open ended for more to develop. There is no rule that says you can’t go back to previous work and expand or maybe take it in a different direction. Creativity is fluid, and one subject can often lead you onto another related subject, relevant to your previous work or take you off in a totally different direction. You may feel that a certain body of work says all you want it to say on a subject and that’s that. You may come back to it years later with more wisdom or knowledge, or a point of view which has changed and re work it or expand on it to reflect that.

I don’t think experimentation as a process ever ends. We all seek out new and exciting ways to do things, quicker ways, easier ways, and more effective ways. As artists and makers it is our duty to seek out new ways or areas to be creative, by experimentation and pushing boundaries, by trying out the newest products and innovations or by going back to more traditional crafts and looking at them with 21st century eyes. Experimentation takes us forward, gives our work new direction and meaning, not just in new technologies and techniques but in our creative selves too.

I have learnt so much in the first year of this course. I have experimented with techniques and materials I have never used, I have read and researched on various textile designers, innovations, technologies, techniques, fabrics and yarns. I have found my love of drawing and painting again and incorporated that into my work. It has been a year of total experimentation and trying new processes. Although part 5 will be the conclusion of the first years’ work, what I have achieved will still be a work in progress. I know I will go back to techniques and fabrics I have used and try to push them further. I believe my sketchbooks have many ideas that can still be expanded on when I have gained more knowledge perhaps? My learning will be an ongoing process so I don’t see this first year as an area of work that has concluded at all. I will be taking all these ideas and processes forward to help inform my next body of work. I can conclude that I have learnt much over this first year, developing not just in creative ways but in ways that have taken me right out of my comfort zone, and that have enlightened me on issues like sustainable fashion and the impact clothing has on the planet. So some conclusions of the past year, but definitely not concluded.